So, it looks like they’ve found another Earth-like planet!
HD 40307g (catchy name) is a new addition to the list of habitable planets – and even better, it’s the closest one to us in orbit around a Sun-like star! (If you’re interested, the super-catchy name comes from it being the 6th planet (hence the letter g, as they’re labelled in alphabetical order) around the star HD 40307.)
This is the third star system found to have as many as six planets, and the first one where a possible Goldilocks planet has been found. Previously known to have just three planets, a research team of European and American astronomers recently discovered three new ones, including our friend HD 40307g, which I’m going to call H for short. (No, not H from Steps.)
H is a superterran – which means it’s much bigger than Earth. It is, in fact, seven times more massive than Earth, but it orbits its star at just the right distance to support liquid water, although it only receives two-thirds of the light that our Earth gets.
There’s still a lot about the mysterious H we don’t know – we can assume that its average temperature might be around 9 degrees C, but we don’t know how much that could vary, or even what the surface looks like. However, most possible temperatures and land/water conditions would be tolerable by the complex life we know on Earth.
Now all we need are some seriously fast rockets, and we’ll be colonising in no time!